The so-called "Ground Zero mosque," a 13-story Islamic center proposed for a lot two blocks away from New York's World Trade Center site, is continuing to polarize politicians even as the controversy begins to die down. But opinions on the Cordoba House aren't dividing evenly along party lines. Just this week, Sen Orrin Hatch (R—UT became the latest conservative to support the building's construction. Here's how the argument has broken down:
FOR THE MOSQUE
Orrin Hatch, Republican senator for Utah
Key quote: "There's a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I'd be the first to stand up for their rights."
Jerrold Nadler, Democratic congressman for New York
Key quote: "We do not put the Bill of Rights, we do not put religious freedom, up for a vote."
Ron Paul, Republican congressman for Texas
Key quote: "It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built... [but] majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty."
Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayor, former Republican; now Independent
Key quote: "We in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion."
AGAINST THE MOSQUE
Sarah Palin, former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate
Key quote: "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing" (from Palin's Twitter account)
Harry Reid, Senate Majority leader, Democratic senator for Nevada
Key quote: "The First Amendment protects freedom of religion... [but] the mosque should be built someplace else."
Rudolph Giuliani, former New York City mayor, Republican presidential candidate
Key quote: "This is a desecration. Nobody would allow something like that at Pearl Harbor."
Newt Gingrich, former GOP House Speaker
Key quote: "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over."
This article was originally published on August 3, then updated with amendments on September 1